The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Delta Wings It in Massive Critical Outage

10 August 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970
 

Tuesday 9 saw Delta CEO Ed Bastian taking to the airwaves to update customers on the outage that led to hundreds of cancelled flights around the world. He said the airline had grounded at least 870 flights on Monday 8 with the words: "We’re very sorry, I’m personally very sorry. We’ll do everything we can to make sure this never happens again."

775 flights were then cancelled on Tuesday with 90 expected on Wednesday - along with delays caused by planes and crews being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

Critical power control module...back-ups fail

Chief Operating Officer Gil West took up the story: “Monday morning a critical power control module at our Technology Command Center malfunctioned, causing a surge to the transformer and a loss of power. The universal power was stabilised and power was restored quickly. But when this happened, critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to back-ups. Other systems did. And now we’re seeing instability in these systems.

“For example we’re seeing slowness in a system that airport customer service agents use to process check-ins, conduct boarding and dispatch aircraft. Delta agents used the original interface we designed for this system on Monday while we continued with our resetting efforts.

“Delta is a vast people-moving machine that is tightly wound around a schedule. Similar to what happens after a severe weather event, it is not unusual for a global airline to take more than 24 hours to return to full reliability. When Delta doesn’t fly aircraft, not only do customers not get to their destination, flight crews don’t get to where they are scheduled to be. When this happens, unfortunately, further delays and cancellations result. And flight crews can only be on duty for a limited time before rest periods are required by law.

“Flight crews – pilots and flight attendants – carry out their responsibilities in a rotation, a schedule of flights and hotel reservations, that is usually three or four days. As cancellations occur, rotations become invalid. Multiplied across tens of thousands of pilots and flight attendants and thousands of scheduled flights, rebuilding rotations is a time-consuming process.

“And keeping safety top of mind is a constant in our actions and especially while we’re running our operation in recovery mode and making sure flight crews on duty have all they need to operate a safe flight, especially consistent delivery of information.

“Delta employees worldwide are doing everything possible to return the operation to normal and get customers to their destinations.”

At one point, Delta didn't even know where en route some of its planes were with flight status systems saying 'on time' when clearly this was not the case. However, there was no impact on in-flight systems - so no fear of near misses or crashes.

Delta's compensation bill could run into $millions. The carrier is offering compensation to customers significantly affected by delays or cancellations and has been obliged to provide hotel and other accommodation if a cancellation required an overnight stay.

On one single Friday this year, 624,000 revenue customers departed on Delta flights to destinations around the globe - with the summer expected to see at least 10 similar days.

 

Eggs in one basket

This is not the first time a massive global systems that airlines rely on to control planes, baggage and passengers has failed in recent times. Earlier this year, Southwest Airlines reported a similar failure and subsequently a full recovery across its network. Again it was obliged to offer compensation for a full week of disruption for July 20-26. The cause of the problem is said to have been a simple router failure at a data centre in Dallas - which led to about 2,300 flight cancellations.

 

From the New York Times

An article from the New York Times quotes Bob Offutt, Principal of Travel Technology Consulting and former chief architect at Sabre, the world’s largest computer reservations system as saying:“These systems are so complex, it’s surprising we haven’t had more major failures.”

In fact there have been. Again according to the NYT, last year, malfunctions in United Airlines’ computer systems grounded hundreds of flights, and American Airlines experienced delays after a bug in its iPad software meant that pilots did not have accurate airport maps.

 

Picture: A safe landing for a Delta flight but the company was clueless for three days as to when it would take-off again...senior executives at Delta chose the wrong day to give up smoking, drinking and sniffing glue on Monday 8

 

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 10 August 2016

Share



Related Articles

Load Bank Testing Could Save Emergency Generation Failure

Simone Bruckner explains why regular load bank testing should be a crucial part of any company’s standby strategy. Companies in general and data centres, in...

 Read Full Article
BA Fracas Focused On Plug-in Failure

British Airways' parent company has allowed its Chief Executive to tell an audience the recent IT catastrophe (which affected 75,000 passengers) was caused not by...

 Read Full Article
Power Failure - BA Sticks to Feeble Excuse

British Airways' excuse for its catastrophic IT failure that has seen flight schedules resume but many passengers stranded and separated from their luggage, was so...

 Read Full Article
Saharan Dust Moves Across UK

A storm carrying Saharan dust is causing hazy skies and layers of orange-coloured dust across southern England.   What is Saharan Dust?   Saharan...

 Read Full Article
Storm Eunice – Met Office Announces Red Weather Warning

A rare red weather warning for parts of the southwest has been issued by the Met Office, as significant gusts in excess of 90mph are expected. Latest warnings are...

 Read Full Article
Omicron Variant – What are the Facts?

It remains unclear how much of a threat the new Omicron COVID-19 variant poses, so what are the definitive facts? On 26 November 2021, the World Health Organisation...

 Read Full Article
What is Plan B and What Does it Mean For Workplaces?

Detailed in the UK Governments Autumn and Winter Plan, option B could see the re-introduction of masks and other restrictions. What does this mean for the newly...

 Read Full Article
What Does the PM's COVID-19 Winter Plan Mean for Employers?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently laid out his COVID-19 winter response plan to the public, but how will it impact existing working policies? The winter...

 Read Full Article
'Fuel Crisis' Leads to Spike in EV Interest - How Can Businesses Prepare?

In light of fuel supply issues throughout the UK, more drivers than ever are considering electric vehicles. Car sales website carwow recorded that searches for EVs on...

 Read Full Article
71 Per Cent of Facilities Managers Sceptical of Digital Transformation 

Research suggests that more than two-thirds of FM leaders are resistant to digital progress in the workplace. The Connected Enterprise report, produced by Sigma...

 Read Full Article